Two recent letters (July 23) have supported fracking by declarative statements but not factual data. Global warming is not “debunked” but is a fact firmly supported by the scientific community, which affirms the causal relationship between post-Industrial Revolution emission of greenhouse gases and an exponential rise in temperature.
Pertinent articles in the scientific literature are: Causes of Climate Change (www.epa.gov/climate change); Global, Regional and National Fossil-fuel Co2 Emissions (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) and Hansen et al., Global Temperature change (2006, National Academy of Sciences). Flooding, increased seismic activity, and serious weather pattern alterations are all considered plausible consequences of global warming.
The fracking process is certainly not safe. Data obtained in 2010 under the Freedom of Information Act from the EPA found 421 recorded violations in a six-month period, and hundreds of spills at natural gas drilling sites, involving 92 different companies. Fifty involved soil or water. An EPA report unequivocally linked fracking fluid contaminants to underground water pollution (Scientific American, 2011).
This month, the federal government has sued Exxon subsidiary EXO for allowing flowback fluid and waste water byproducts poisonous chemicals) to reach Susquehanna tributaries. A risk-analysis publication of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (2012) states: “... (fracking) techniques carry ... substantial ... environmental risk for release of contaminated fluids, even in a best-case scenario.”
The last fire at a gas drilling site occurred this week.
Regarding the supposed economic benefits to Butler County, Pa., we note that numerous towns there have banned fracking because of negative costs/benefits analysis.
Other, renewable, energy resources will provide jobs in design, manufacture, installation, maintenance and marketing without polluting the environment, jeopardizing health and warming the planet. Those are what we should support.
Mary Anne Whelan, Ph.D., MD